A top aide to National Security Adviser Mike Flynn was denied clearance for a high-level security clearance by the Central Intelligence Agency, putting an end to the aide's tenure on the National Security Council, according to a report.
The report said Robin Townley, senior director for Africa and a top deputy of Flynn's, found out Friday that the CIA had shot down his request for an elite security clearance that is required to serve on the NSC, escalating tensions between Flynn and the intelligence community.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo reportedly approved the rejection of Townley's clearance request. A source told Politico that this infuriated Flynn.
The report came on the heels of news that Flynn broke diplomatic protocols by discussing the possibility of lifting sanctions on Russia with the Russian ambassador to the United States in December 2016 — before Trump officially took over as commander in chief.
Though Flynn has denied those reports, tensions have risen between the two sides as Flynn continues to view the intelligence community skeptically, pushing Trump to do so as well after he refused to believe the intelligence community's claim that the Russians attempted to sway the November election in his direction.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, pushed back against claims that the move was an attempt to send a message to Flynn, calling that "baloney."
Trump and Flynn "see treachery everywhere they go," Schiff said. "If a security clearance is denied, it's for a reason."